Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Manchester City
Venue: Anfield – Wednesday, March 2 – 20:00 GMT (15:00 ET)
Match Odds: Liverpool 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Man City 15/8
Manchester City won Sunday’s final on penalties after a hard fought battle between the sides and both need to focus once again on league commitments, with eleven games to go.
Liverpool thumped Aston Villa 6-0 in their last league outing and Jurgen Klopp will be expecting his side to bounce back from Sunday’s penalty heartache in front of their own fans here.
The Reds have the chance to close the gap on City to six points despite the fact they are five places behind them in the table. They thumped their opponents 4-1 in the reverse fixture and will be looking for an impressive double here.
Manchester City need to pick up their domestic form and send out a message to the chasing pack and the teams above them here.
City may have lifted the League Cup on Sunday, but they have lost their last two Premier League games on the bounce and are at risk of falling out of the title race altogether with another defeat.
If they do not start to win games consistently they may even fall out of the top four with sides behind them continually gaining ground.
Manuel Pellegrini will be expecting his side to build upon Sunday’s cup win and avoid defeat at all costs here. They have a difficult run of fixtures in the run in to the season and cannot afford to put any unnecessary pressure on themselves.
The 120 minutes played on Sunday might leave both sides drained but this is sure to be another intriguing battle between two attacking sides.
The Liverpool squad is being stretched with the number of injuries they have at the moment. Joe Gomez, Danny Ings, Martin Skrtel, Jordan Rossiter, Mamadou Sakho and Kevin Stewart are all out. Steven Caulker and Daniel Sturridge are both doubtful. Kolo Toure is expected to start at centre-back alongside Lucas after the pair coped relatively well with Sergio Aguero on Sunday.
Manchester City have been welcoming back some of their long term injured players of late, although Samir Nasri, Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph are all out. It will be interesting to see if penalty shootout hero Willy Caballero retains his place in goal or if Joe Hart returns between the sticks.
Liverpool’s last five: L/W/L/D/W
Manchester City’s last five: W/D/W/L/L
Key Stat: Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 home games against Manchester City in all competitions.
Key Player: Raheem Sterling – The former Liverpool man will continue to want to prove why he chose to move to City. He will be looking to make it two wins in four days against the Reds in what is sure to be a hostile return to Anfield for the young England winger.
Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City – Both these sides may well be tired after such a drawn out League Cup Final on Sunday. City have been out of form in the league of late and may struggle again to break down a resilient Liverpool defence, despite the number of injuries the Reds are struggling with. There should be goals in this but it’s hard to split them on paper coming into the clash.